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Task force working to make Fort Macleod safer

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Fort Macleod’s Safe Community Task Force is working steadily to clean problem properties and clear out drug dealers.

The task force since it was formed in August drove the demolition of one drug house and forced other property owners to clean their unsightly premises.

“When you drive down some of the streets it’s definitely looking a lot better,” Mayor Brent Feyter said. “It’s cleaner and more inviting for families as well.”

Feyter’s comments came Feb. 8 following a report by chief administrative officer Sue Keenan.

The Safe Community Task Force has as partners the town, RCMP and Alberta Health Services.

Other partners include SCAN (Safe Communities and Neighbourhoods), the building codes contractor and the town’s by-law enforcement officer.

Council approved the task force last summer to target drug dealers and delinquent landlords.

“I’m continually impressed and very happy with the feedback and information we are continuing to generate from our residents and businesses within the community,” Keenan said.

“I believe collectively we have made a huge impact on moving this item forward — sometimes with a tougher hand and sometimes with a softer touch.”

Keenan said sustained pressure has reduced the number of problem properties to three.

In a written report to council, Keenan noted the task force’s work in 2020 cost $116,457.

“We hope to recover a significant amount of the money we spent through the sale of some of these properties,” Keenan added. “That takes time, though, through the legal process.”

Costs are for the clean-up, legal fees and in some cases a sea can rental.

The Town of Fort Macleod has added  $89,291 of those costs to the tax roll to be recovered from the property owners.

“That has been a huge benefit to us under the community standards by-law,” Keenan said.

So far in 2021, the task force’s costs have totalled $19,250 for clean-ups, of which $21,043 has been added to the tax roll to be recovered from the property owners.

The next virtual town hall for the Safe Communities Task Force will take place in April.

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